HOW TO – Cinemagraph


In this project we wanted to recreate the Cinemagraph effect in a short movie.

Cinemagraphs are video or still photographs in which some parts of the video are freezed and the others move repeatedly. The effect that is produced is that of a living photograph and can be used both for isolated images both for short video.

While filming it is very important to have a stable tripod. The clips should be as fixed as possible. Similarly it is good to check the lighting conditions do not change suddenly. Finally the actors have to perform movements well defined and as more isolated as possible from the rest of the body.

The tools we used are:

– Canon 600d

– 18-55 lens

– Camera tripod

– Adobe After Effects 

We started writing the script of the sequences, then we shoot the scenes, some indoor and the last two outdoor in places with a lot of people and movement to make the realization of the cinemagraph effect more difficult. In the short movie, a boy smokes a weed cigarette and goes out of his mind beginning to see people in the paintings of his room coming to life. The main sequences of the video are:

1.The actor is at home sitting in his kitchen and preparing a cigarette.

  1. He lights up his cigarette standing in the balcony of his room and smokes it.
  2. He lays in his bed sleeping and his body seems to have spasms. Then he wakes up with hallucinations.
  3. He begins to see people in the paints of his room coming to life, watching and walking toward him.
  4. Finally he falls on the bed so confused raising a smile.

 After the shots, we applied the Cinemagraph effect to almost all the scenes using Adobe After Effect.

 How to do it?


In after effects let’s create a new composition and import the clip.


Duplicates it and moves on the first clip just before the movement you want to make as cinemagraph. Select the freeze time effect from the layer menu and reduce the composition from that point to few frames after. The movement has to be short and repeated so it’s important to choose well the duration of the clip.


On the first clip let’s make a mask on the part of the image in which we want to have the movement. Set the mask to subtract mode and animate it frame by frame if necessary to follow the movement. Pay attention to the clip below. Use the feather attribute to merge the mask with the rest of the image.


Then add some effects to better merge the two clip. For example we can add some fake smoke to have it both on the mask and both on the upper layer.

We can also add an adjustment layer to matting the upper layer mask.


Andrea Cassinari

Stefano D’Antonio

Alessio Punturo

Tommaso Valli


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s